Friday, August 26, 2011

Here's why its cheaper to let them take it.

Modern American law precludes defense of property.  If in doubt, let them take it.  It will be cheaper.

An El Paso County jury on Friday awarded nearly $300,000 to the daughter of a burglar who was fatally shot in 2009 while breaking into an auto lot.
 Parents of the victim, Robert Johnson Fox, embraced their attorneys after a judge announced the jury's verdict, capping a two-week-long civil trial in which business owner Jovan Milanovic and two relatives were painted as vigilantes who plotted a deadly ambush rather than let authorities deal with a string of recent burglaries.

Interesting finding by police, knives are not really weapons.  Kinda.

Police said in a 145-page investigative report that the intruder had knives in his pockets and one strapped to his ankle, but never posed a threat to Milanovic or the other men, his father Ljuban Milanovic and brother-in-law Srdjan Milanovic.

So armed robbery isn't really "armed" if the robber doesn't have as good a weapon as you do.  Please note, the business owner and his two friends were NOT CHARGED BY POLICE, because it was a righteous shoot and the DA knew he wasn't going to get a conviction.

The situation in Canada is much, much worse. If you kill a robber you will be charged with murder even if the guy shoots you first.

I reiterate, LET THEM TAKE IT.  Because the robbers can't take everything you own or ever hope to, but their lawyers can.

The Phantom

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns from Apple.

Hot off the Drudge Report, Apple CEO and the guy who created the personal computer in his mum's garage, Steve Jobs resigned his post.

There are no details beyond his letter of resignation found here:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple''s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple''s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


I extend, for what its worth, my personal thanks to Mr. Jobs for everything his company and his work have done for me as an individual, my society and the world as a whole.  I wish him and his family well, and hope that his life is joyous.

The Phantom.

Friday, August 19, 2011

From our "this explains a lot!" file...

In case you were wondering why there's STILL no replacement for the space shuttle, despite the program being almost 40 years old this year, here's a hint:

...reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa's Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity "prepare for actual contact".

In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.

Here's the link and abstract at Elsevier Science.
I couldn't justify paying $31.00 for the actual paper to find out who paid for it, but my suspicion is that the US taxpayer did. Whoever paid got ripped off harshly, they just re-stated the plots from half the crappy Hollywood SciFi movies of the twentieth century.
Predictably, The Guardian takes a respectful tone to this bit of nonsense because it has Climate Change in it. Proving once again that you can't lampoon the Left, all you can do is report what they do, then point and laugh.

The Phantom

The Phantom Was WRONG! update:

Wow, I WUZ RONG! That almost never happens, but today it did. Underpaid, overworked NASA wretch Shawn Goldman reveals that NASA did not pay for this crapulous paper, he did it in his spare time with some friends. Therefore NASA is not guilty of wasting taxpayer money on this paper, and the Suspicious Phantom's suspicions were WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

However Shawn and his friends are still doofi, and the Guardian is still a propaganda rag unfit to line bird cages with. Here endeth the mea culpa.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Ooh, ooooh! I know this one!!!

Question on Liberalism 101 final exam:

Q: The chilllldrun isn't lurning.  Despite a No Child Left Behind federal law which punishes school districts when kids fail their exams, kids are still failing their exams nine years later.

The proper Liberal response is
A) fire teachers who's pupils score low consistently and hire new ones.
take over some school boards with many under-performing schools, fire a bunch of people and try again with new staff.
C) give people tax vouchers so they can send their under-performing child to a school designed to meet their individual needs
D)Shut the federal Department of Education completely, stop giving federal money to school districts altogether, and let the States do it.
E) stop testing the kids.

What would Obama do?  Think, think... eureka!

State and local education officials have been begging the federal government for relief from student testing mandates in the federal No Child Left Behind law, but school starts soon and Congress still hasn't answered the call.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he will announce a new waiver system Monday to give schools a break.

The plan to offer waivers to all 50 states, as long as they meet other school reform requirements, comes at the request of President Barack Obama, Duncan said. More details on the waivers will come in September, he said.

The goal of the [Republican, boo, hissss!] No Child Left Behind law is to have every student proficient in math and reading by 2014. States have been required to bring more students up to the math and reading standards each year, based on tests that usually take place each spring. The step-by-step ramping up of the 9-year-old law has caused heartburn in states and most school districts, because more and more schools are labeled as failures as too few of their students meet testing goals.


Awesome solution Mr. Obama sir, truly you are The One.

The Phantom

Monday, August 08, 2011

Three interesting hacks.

Found at Slashdot today, Techworld article containing three interesting tech hacks for your viewing pleasure.  We have the flying camera launched by a flare gun, the semi-autonomous flying WiFi and phone sniffer, and most interesting, the cellphone cloud software. No towers needed, straight phone-to-phone file sharing.


The Phantom

Friday, August 05, 2011

Scandal? Or not so much? WIRED reports, you decide.

An interesting article on Drudge today. 

It seems an enterprising hacker bought a bunch of remote control gear on Ebay for a Burning Man project.  Wanted to have an autonomous vehicle driving around amongst the thousands of people at the festival (which totally isn't totally insanely unsafe or anything, right ?)  Turns out this surplus gear was from a failed project for the Pentagon.  The company was Ionatron, they were making a machine to blow up roadside bombs with electricity.  It was supposed to be a remote controlled, semi-autonomous vehicle that tooled along the side of the road with a big bug-zapper that would basically shoot lightning at any metal object buried in the dirt.  Didn't work all that well, company went bust, now the vehicle control gear is on Ebay.

This article is from WIRED magazine, and is one of a series that just buries Ionatron, the US military and their equipment acquisition program.  Here's the outrage quote:

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the Pentagon sank tens of millions of dollars into remote-controlled lightning guns that it hoped would fry insurgent bombs before they killed any more troops. Now, disassembled parts from the one-time wonder-weapons are being sold on eBay. At least one buyer snatched up the gear, hoping to use it in his latest art project for Burning Man.

All of which would make for a funny little story, if that buyer didn't discover that the multimillion dollar "Joint  Improvised Explosive Device Neutralizers," or JINs, were kluged together from third-rate commercial electronics, and controlled by open Wi-Fi signals. In other words, the Pentagon didn't just overpay for a flawed weapon. On the off-chance the JIN ever worked, the insurgents could control it, too.

"This is the hack of all hacks," says Cody Oliver, a freelance technologist in San Francisco. "And this is what they were selling to the government? Holy shit."

More specifically, here's the details of that "Holy shit":

Oliver kept going through the strange gear he had indirectly acquired from Ionatron. The wireless router that was supposed to be mounted on the robot was a standard Linksys model, the kind that filled countless homes with Wi-Fi. There was no encryption, and no password to protect the information. Anyone could've tapped in. "All the video, all the commands, there were all in the clear, over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi," Oliver says, his voice rising.

There was one difference, though, between this Linksys router and a standard one: The tell-tale blue plastic had been removed, and the serial numbers were carefully shaved off. As if someone didn't want the government to know that they were using commercial parts.

... ooooooh, sneaky! ...

Oliver eventually dropped the idea of using the Ionatron gear for Burning Man — and not because of Parish's threat. The gear just seemed too jury-rigged. Its network detector was a wire connected to the "on" light on the front of the router.

"I just don't trust it," he says.

Ok, so the whole thrust of the article is that the prototype gear was running off an unsecured Linksys 802-11 WiFi router. The author ignores that Ionatron wasn't in the autonomous vehicle business, they were in the mine-zapping business and needed a quick-and-dirty AV to strap the zapper onto for some field tests.  Seems the Marine Corps is still testing the mine-zapper idea, they put theirs on a truck instead of a robot.  Oh, and it looks like a pair of balls.  Which is hilarious, of course.

This Noah Shachtman guy is a pretty good writer. He had me going! In truth, I was all set to post this as an outrage piece myself... until I took a look at the comments.  Its a sobering thing to realize that you're a sucker for a line of patter, and I was one right up until I read this comment:

Common practice in defense industry to use COTS products (Consumer off the shelf).  Far cheaper during prototyping than custom fabricating equipment before concept is proven.  Considering this didn't really make it out of development and into production, its not surprising it was not locked down or made with more rugged equipment.  They have to make it through proof of concept before money will be sunk into producing them with military grade equipment and then it has to make it into production before they'll start locking everything down.

This article, like most defense articles on this site, is reaching hard to find something to criticize with selective reporting or just simple ignorance of how defense development is done.

And then my brain said "duh". 

Its a hurry-up prototype of a vehicle control, NOT the finished product.  Which they surplussed and it ended up on Ebay because its a piece of crap. Some guy probably fired it together in an all-nighter so he could have something that would run and drive the next day. Like I've never done that myself.  This is a genuine "Column deadline approaching and I've got NOTHING!" kinda article.

So there you have it my friends.  Like most MSM productions these days, your WIRED subscription is a waste.  You will be dumber and less informed after reading it. 

The "almost had me" Phantom

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Here's a new one for the "Should you be more worried?" file. We know that the US Dept. of Education has its own SWAT team, for arresting people who don't pay their student loans on time.  Turns out the Dept. of Agriculture has a SWAT team too, or can at least borrow one.  Why would the DoAg need a freakin' SWAT team you ask?  Two words my friends: unpasteurized milk!

(NaturalNews) The raid on Rawesome Foods by a combined force of agents from the FDA, Dept of Agriculture, CDC and the LA County Sheriff's office wasn't the only SWAT-style armed raid that took place today. Sharon Palmer, a mom and owner of Healthy Family Farms was also arrested and taken to jail. A third woman, Victoria Bloch, the LA County liaison for the Weston A Price Foundation ( , was also reportedly arrested, NaturalNews has learned.

All three are reportedly being charged with conspiracy to commit a crime. What crime? The "crime" of advocating raw milk for consumers!

As NaturalNews previously reported (…), the SWAT-style raid was conducted like a terrorist operation, where the cops immediately went after Rawesome's cash and then began vandalizing and destroying the store's entire inventory. This raid was an act of economic terrorism against a legitimate, ethical business selling wholesome, healthful products to a very happy group of members.

Added to the charges against these heinous criminals was the dastardly terrorist plot to sell "mislabeled cheese".  I couldn't make that up.

UPDATE #2 (4:30 PM CST): A spokesperson for the Weston A. Price Foundation has learned that authorities are charging Victoria Bloch with conspiracy under California Penal Code Section 182a. Sharon Palmer is reportedly also being charged with conspiracy and a charge related to 'mislabeling cheese.' Similar charges are also believed to be pending for Stewart. Natural News reports that an LAPD squad car was also involved in the raid.

Now as a person trained in physical therapy, I have to say I'm not aware of any scientifically proven health benefits from consuming raw milk and cheese compared to the pasteurized variety, although there's all kindsa nutty ideas about it out there all the time.  I am aware of several unpleasant diseases you can catch from unpasteurized dairy products, a couple of which can kill you deader than a mackerel. Like tuberculosis, to name one. Plus, we're talking California here.  So I'm fairly certain that these people are a bunch of deluded hippies and healthfood phreaks.  They probably smell funny too.

But I'm somehow doubting that being a deluded hippie, smelling funny and selling raw milk to people who JOINED A CLUB whose specific purpose is selling raw milk could possibly be so illegal and dangerous as to rate a dynamic entry raid from a full-on SWAT team, followed by trashing the guy's premises.  It's not like the milk was going to blow up, right?

Here's something else to worry about.  The mainstream media is joining in with the DemocRats to smear the Tea Party.  No big surprise, but now they're really ramping it up.

MSNBC host Martin Bashir interviewed Stanton Peele, a psychologist and an "expert on addiction," this afternoon. Bashir urged Peele to psychologically evaluate supporters of the Tea Party. "It reminds us of addiction because addicts are seeking something that they can't have," Peele said. "They want a state of happiness or nirvana that can't be achieved except through an artificial substance and reminds us of the Norway situation, when people are thwarted at obtaining something they can't, have they often strike out and Norway is one kind of example to one kind of reaction to that kind of a frustration."

Bashir later asked: "So you're saying that they are delusional about the past and adamant about the future?"

"They are adamant about achieving something that's unachievable, which reminds us of a couple of things. It reminds us of delusion and psychosis," Peele responded.

So it looks like they're going to go all-in with the "Tea Partiers are dangerously insane terrorists" thing.  Maybe we should all think about that a little bit, particularly in light of the number of non-Justice, non-military government departments that seem to have SWAT teams at their beck and call.

Just sayin'.

The Phantom